A two-week project may begin on the Eddy Street underpass in early April, if weather conditions allow.
In a conference call in late February, Grand Island Public Works Director John Collins received a rough estimate from a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“They have to pull the concrete up and remove a lot of stuff from underneath that they’re not allowed to leave because it was used as part of a hazard mitigation,” Collins said. “And then they have to cap everything properly so they don’t have any future groundwater contamination.”
The EPA representative indicated that traffic may be allowed to travel the underpass during the two-week period. But Collins says because all of the concrete’s going to be gone, it could be undrivable.
Right now, the April plans are still tentative. “They’re going to call me before they start, and we’ll do a press release,” Collins said.
At this point, three lanes are open to traffic.
Work began on the Eddy Street underpass in March of last year. At the time, EPA officials said the work might be done in December. But EPA tests didn’t meet required targets, Collins said.
If the wintry weather continues, the underpass work might not begin in early April. “You can’t do a lot of the work that you need to do when it’s this cold and mucky and all,” he said.
If weather does get in the way, the underpass might not be fully open until May or June.
The overall work is being carried out as part of the Cleburn Street Well Superfund Site at Fourth and Eddy streets. Under that project, workers are cleaning up groundwater contaminated by hazardous materials from the former One Hour Martinizing dry cleaner at 803 W. Fourth.
The industrial solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was discovered at the Superfund site in 1986 when testing of a city water well detected the contamination. Trichloroethylene (TCE) and petroleum hydrocarbons also caused soil and groundwater contamination.
The project is being carried out by the EPA at no cost to the city.
According to a news release this month from EPA, “The Superfund program is a top priority for EPA under President Trump, and the agency is making great strides in accelerating sites through remediation and back to productive use.” The EPA says communities across the country are benefiting from these efforts.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says that in Fiscal Year 2018, EPA deleted all or part of 22 sites from the National Priorities List, the largest number of deletions in one year since 2005.